Our team is dedicated to inspiring a passion for reading among some of the nation’s neediest children. Learn more about the outstanding individuals leading the way at Book Trust:
Amy Friedman, Executive Director
In April 2011, Amy joined Book Trust after a career with Denver Public Schools where she began as a classroom teacher and spent several years in key leadership roles. She brings with her a wealth of public education knowledge and pertinent skills being that Denver Public Schools is a district of 80,000 students—and over 70% of them come from low-income families. She was an English-as-second language teacher, supported the district’s English language acquisition program, led the district’s choice and charter school initiatives, and served as the chief of staff to the chief academic officer and superintendent.
Book Trust is Amy’s opportunity to lead an organization committed to her passion—creating better lives for kids living in low-income families. Book Trust changes the lives of underprivileged children through books. Amy believes that improving literacy skills, particularly among poor children, is the first step to closing the achievement gap, which she sees as the civil rights challenge of our generation.
Amy is a graduate of Georgetown University where she earned a Bachelor’s in Linguistics and a Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language.
Favorite children's books: The Fuzzy Duckling (Jane Werner Watson), The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein), and A Fish Out of Water (Helen Palmer Geisel)
Current Top Picks: The Red Tent (Anita Diamant), Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese), and State of Wonder (Ann Pratchett)
Donna Frost, Director of Finance and Operations
Donna is responsible for all financial administration including business planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting and analysis. Her non-profit experience includes working at a contemporary art museum directing all financial, accounting and human resource operations. Prior to that, she worked for a local philanthropist/entrepreneur to manage all non-profit and philanthropic giving objectives and political candidate committee reporting. She believes books spark the imagination in children to help them to become lifelong learners. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Admin from Regis University with an emphasis in Management and Human Resources.
Donna’s commitment to the nonprofit community is summed up in her favorite quote from The Lorax “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better . It’s not.” . . .
Favorite children’s books: Are You My Mother? (P D Eastman) and Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown)
Kelly McFarland, Development Manager
Kelly joined Book Trust as Development Manager in December 2013. She has a knack for analyzing data and organizing systems. Kelly provides organizational support to the development team, including managing the database system. She is a Colorado native and obtained her Bachelor’s in Microbiology from Colorado State University.
After a career in clinical research, she began working in the nonprofit sector and has several years’ experience working with local, national and international organizations focused on youth development and health services including Water For People, AIDS United AmeriCorps and Boys & Girls Clubs. Kelly is also an adventurous traveler and has completed a solo round the world trip. Kelly is passionate about working with children and inspiring them to become lifelong learners. She is very grateful to have joined such a wonderful family of staff, volunteers and donors.
Favorite children’s books: The Westing Game (Ellen Raskin), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg), Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)
Diane Parnes, Director, Hawaii
Diane joined Book Trust in December 2013 and directs the Maui and Oahu regional Boards in fundraising efforts for the state of Hawaii. Her 27 year career spans the private, public and government sectors and she has served as a strategic social impact advisor, a family foundation executive, a corporate grantmaker, a nonprofit Executive Director and Development Director. In a volunteer capacity, Diane has served on a variety of nonprofit grantmaking and nonprofit Boards. She has a Bachelor’s of Music & Business Degree from University of the Pacific (California) plus certifications in fundraising, corporate grantmaking, multigenerational philanthropy consulting and nonprofit Board governance.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
Michelle Striker, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships
Michelle joined Book Trust in 2011. Michelle has extensive marketing and fundraising experience in the nonprofit community and has worked to enrich diverse communities throughout the metro Denver area for the last decade. In Michelle’s role at Book Trust, she is leading the effort to engage Colorado philanthropists in Book Trust’s mission to change the lives of underprivileged children. Michelle graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism and earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado in Denver.
All time favorite children's book: The BFG (Roald Dahl)
Beth Sundberg, Program Director
Beth joined Book Trust in the summer of 2013 as the program director. In this role, Beth is responsible for providing support to Book Trust teachers across the country. She has a background in both the non-profit sector and elementary education. As an educator Beth taught high school in rural Japan, worked as a reading tutor, and taught first grade. Beth believes that learning to read and having access to books is fundamental to a child’s success. And she credits her own first grade teacher, Sarah Seeker, with giving her the passion for reading.
Beth has an undergraduate degree in Comparative Politics from the University of Puget Sound and a master’s degree in Instruction and Curriculum with an emphasis in Reading from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Favorite Children’s Books: Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes) and Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder)